Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico

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By Lizpiano

Picture of Elon Musk by Getty Images.

That is, if given the green light to go ahead. Elon Musk has helped many smaller islands, like Ta’u Island in Samoa, with his solar power devices and tweeted this yesterday:

“The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too. Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR.”
@elonmusk

Above is a video about the SolarCity created with Tesla’s Microgrid Solar Power in Samoa.

In response to this, Puerto Rico Governor Ricky Rossello showed interest, tweeting “Let’s talk” to Musk, saying “PR could be that flagship project.”

Musk has already done his part for Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria left the island’s power grid in tatters, so Tesla reportedly sent hundreds of Powerwalls — battery systems designed to store energy — along with employees to install them in an effort to restore power.

Powerwall batteries can be paired with solar panels to help restore the grid. According to Fortune.com “the Powerwall, which was first introduced in April 2015, is a battery designed for homes that store the energy generated by solar panels.”

Musk also donated $250,000 of his own money to the relief effort.

In the meantime, President Donald Trump said on Fox News in an interview with Geraldo Rivera, “the island’s debt will have to be wiped out.” Puerto Rico owes over $70 billion to creditors while the total storm cost is between $45 and 90 billion dollars.

Continue reading “Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico”

Caribbean Must Do Now: Dirty Energy to Clean Power

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NECKER ISLAND, BVI. According to British billionaire, Richard Branson, low-carbon renewable energy conveniences should substitute old fossil fuel-dependent forms when the Caribbean islands are being rebuilt now.

Photo from @richardbranson

Reuters stated he approached the British and US governments and is mustering help from financial institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank and other philanthropists to set up a fund to help Caribbean nations.

“As part of that fund we want to make sure that the Caribbean moves from dirty energy to clean energy,” he said.

It has generally been the norm in Caribbean islands to create power by diesel burning – that forms global warming carbon dioxide, which will increase the frequency of freak weather events.

“I’ve been involved in talking out about climate change for a number of years now… I never thought I was going to be in the front line in quite the way I was two weeks ago,” he said at an event on fuel efficiency.

Branson has been a longtime champion of clean energy. Head of the Virgin Group conglomerate, he co-founded the Carbon War Room in 2009 to accelerate the implementation of business plans that reduce carbon discharges.

In reference to the U.S. program that helped rebuild Western Europe after World War Two, Branson mentioned in his blog that the Caribbean needed a “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” to aid in restoring and in long-term economic renewal. Continue reading “Caribbean Must Do Now: Dirty Energy to Clean Power”

St. Maarten/St. Martin Getting Back on Track

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PHILLIPSBURG, St. Maarten. It has been 22 days since the island was mauled by Hurricane Irma. People in St. Maarten have been vowing to stand strong and build the island back up in no time. Well, today grocery stores and restaurants are re-opening on the island in the Dutch part.

Today we celebrate St. Maarten standing strong and forging ahead!

Photo courtesy of @teamsxm.

If you’ve been to Simpson Bay on the Dutch side, you couldn’t miss the Buccaneer Bar on Kim Sha Beach. They are open again with a limited menu. Other well-known places like Pineapple Pete’s and both Greenhouses on the island are serving cold drinks and hot food.

These recovery efforts have not been an easy process. Thanks to Dutch and French government aid, people are slowly starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel again.

Photo courtesy of @teamsxm.  French Air Force arriving with supplies at Maho Beach airstrip.

By Pocahontas.

Sax Car Rental Sint Maarten   B52 Kitesurfing School in Saint Martin SXM Caribbean

An Incident Involving a Tree on a Beach

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I recall an incident involving a tree on a beach in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. I was taking a late evening stroll on the beach and came across some small, green apples (about the size of a small plum) that were washed up on the sand. I kept going and found the tree that carries these fruit. I picked it up and smelled it. It smelled sweet and as I put it in my mouth to taste it, realized what I was doing – it could be poisonous!

Turns out they are very sweet and extremely poisonous too. Dubbed as the ‘Death Apple’ tree by Columbus, it is also known by islanders not to even come in contact with these trees. They call it the Manchineel Tree. Stories of people who were hiding under these trees from the rain and had sap of these trees drip on them and who then died are well-known in the Caribbean.

Obviously I lived to tell the story, thanks to a wonderful doctor and nurse (I vaguely remember they were the only on the island) who had to be called late that evening because I was suffering from dizziness. A cortisone shot and some activated charcoal had me better within 10 hours, thankfully. But they assured me it could have been deadly.

Here are some pics of the tree’s fruit and an example of a sign that some resorts and authorities may place on the tree to warn people.

LizpianoLizpiano is a journalist, health lover and piano entertainer/singer who travels the world. She holds a B.A. degree with Music and Psychology as well as an MPhil (Masters) of Journalism. Follow her on Instagram: @lizpiano, Twitter: @thelizpiano,  Facebook: lizpiano.  www.lizpiano.com

Remembering Virgin Gorda, BVI, post-Irma and Maria

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VIRGIN GORDA, BVI. There was a saying on the island of Virgin Gorda that you should leave the key in the ignition of your car as someone might need it. Sadly, the British Virgin Islands, BVI, and the wonderful people who would create such a saying suffered a double blow with hurricanes Irma and Maria this year.

I’ve visited the island of Virgin Gorda, the smaller of the two most famous BVI islands. Tortola is the capital of the BVI and the biggest one.

The former beauty of Virgin Gorda lay not only in its spectacular scenery, but also in its friendly, peace-loving people and, consequently, also how safe it was to stay there. There weren’t any lock and keys on the doors of the house we stayed in – island people asked us: “why should there be?”

Photo of the Baths in Virgin Gorda
Virgin Gorda Baths (image from weddbook.com)

There were no traffic lights in Virgin Gorda, just some speed bumps. These included, it would still take you about 45 minutes to drive from one end of the island to the other. The resorts and beaches were spectacular, especially the signature  swimming pools formed naturally in rocks, called the Baths, and its nature reserve.

You may note this blog speaks of Virgin Gorda in the past – that is because many of its houses, businesses and resort hotels are no more.

Virgin Gorda after effects from Hurricane Irma and Maria
Virgin Gorda after Hurricanes Irma and Maria (image from Caribbean Buzz Helicopters)

But our good memories of this island are not gone – crystal blue oceans, pristine beaches, seafood dining on the ocean, yachting and diving, meeting some celebrities in a night club (which often does happen here), cute donkeys that rove the island and even a personal near-death experience involving a ‘Death Tree’ on a beach.

Now, after hurricanes Irma and Maria, it was BVI resident and Virgin Group owner, Richard Branson, who tweeted that we should act now and help restore it to its former glory:

@richardbranson: “As Mother Nature is so clearly telling us, we need more resilient, safer community planning. The time to act is now.

Fischers Cove Beach Hotel in Virgin Gorda’s Facebook post on September 25 reads: “Fischers Cove received substantial damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria but all of our staff members survived the storms. We have limited rooms available and are on limited generator power. Our Terrace restaurant is open from 11-5:30pm with a daily special as well as our famous pizzas and wings. Sorry no phone service yet! We thank everyone for your kind thoughts and blessings.Fischers Cove Beach Hotel Continue reading “Remembering Virgin Gorda, BVI, post-Irma and Maria”

Aruba – One Happy Island

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By Lizpiano.

ARUBA. This week Arubans are celebrating the return of the wind! One of the most beautiful islands you’ll ever see, here the wind never stops blowing in a, mostly, northerly direction. It is advised to wear a hat to prevent your hair from being blown into a wild, vagrant-like style. And make sure you hold on to that hat or tie it with a string to your head, naturally.

Picture of Eagle Beach

But if it weren’t for the wind, this island would be very, very hot. Unless, of course, there are hurricanes in the rest of the Caribbean occupying, so to speak,  all wind space. That is why Arubans have grown to celebrate the wind, make the most of it, they even miss it when it’s gone: “Aruba has been very hot and windstill lately, so now that the breeze has come back, the sails are out!” (Posted by @dushiyoga)

It’s been said that many a serious water sport enthusiast in Aruba have been very close to Venezuela at some point in their lives. That is, because the northerly wind might have taken them off-shore easily, especially if they are kitesurfers. It’s not that far away (about 17 miles), in fact you can see the country from Aruba.

Another good thing about Aruba is that its located at the southern edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt. So it avoids most of the hurricanes and storms that blow through the Caribbean from the Atlantic Ocean each year. So the best time to visit the island is always.

Some businesses listed on CoolestCarib.com include Casa Del Mar Aruba Beach Resort & Timeshare and Vela Aruba for kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayak rentals and lessons.

Vela Aruba

LizpianoLizpiano is a journalist, health lover and piano entertainer/singer who travels the world. She holds a B.A. degree with Music and Psychology as well as an MPhil (Masters) of Journalism. Follow her on Instagram: @lizpiano, Twitter: @thelizpiano,  Facebook: lizpiano.  www.lizpiano.com

Frederiksted St. Croix – After Hurricane Maria

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Local Perspective! Posted by WSVI Ch8news

Earl Morris, veteran videographer is out and about looking around St. Croix on Day 2 after Maria and has sent Channel 8 TV some pictures from his journey

Posted by WSVI Ch8news on Thursday, September 21, 2017

We Survived – St. Thomas USVI

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Joel Kling, manager of the Emerald Beach Resort in St. Thomas says:
“We survived! 125MPH gust wind
From 10:30p until 4:30am really felt like everything was going to cave in.
Non stop torrential rain besides the still very stormy weather and after 9 hours we are still at sustained wind 70MPH. Crazy

We never slept. The island is getting 15-20″ of rain. I’m not sure how many will be able to live trough this.
It’s been an experience with two massive hurricanes back to back. Now Puerto Rico is getting the worst of the storm.

I’m praying for all of us.
Climate change is not a hoax!
Love.”

Hurricane Maria: Power Outage in All of Puerto Rico

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By Lizpiano

From Instagram @whatereverpuertorico

It is with sadness and awe that one watches The Weather Channel today after hurricane Maria struck the Virgin Islands and also Puerto Rico.

According to the mayor of San Juan, PR, Maria’s power surge on the island will take 4 to 6 months to repair as electricity outages are recorded on the whole island. Yes, no electricity in Puerto Rico except for those who had their own generators.

Although the worst of the hurricane has passed the island, the storm is not over yet. Storm surges are still dangerous and record flooding of the river Rio de la Plata, south-west of San Juan, is a big problem for people in the region. FEMA rescue teams are being deployed to the island today.

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